Many of us reach a point in our careers when we want to try something new. It may be a switch to a new industry or a change to a different institutional capacity. Making a career pivot is never easy, but there are steps you can take to ease the way. Here are five that can be very effective.
- Seek Out Informational Interviews
An informational interview allows you to gain insight into your target space from the source. By being up front that you are not looking for a job, you can achieve a productive interaction. In the process, you will be gaining a new person in your network who may be important when you are ready to make the switch. Reach out to people who work in the space that you are drawn to, and be prepared for the conversation. Write out your questions in advance, and consider which issues are most meaningful to you. You will want to learn more about the culture, your interviewee’s role in a company, and how to fit in.
- Show Your Thought Leadership to Your Target Audience
Are you promoting your brand through writing? Blogging, sharing articles and other activities provide critical insight to people who will want to research you when you make your pivot. Give them something to show that your interests and expertise align with your new direction. Write and start to show thinking that relates to the new direction. Research and sign up for certifications and online courses to take to show some expertise in the area.
- Reframe Your Career Narrative
Your resume, cover letter, and biography on LinkedIn should tell a story about your career. Go back to these places and rethink how to present a narrative that puts your intended career pivot in context. Make sure that the skills you highlight are transferable to your intended space. This will make apparent how your career fits in your new direction. Approach your career narrative as a story with an arc that shows why it makes sense that you are making the pivot.
- Grow Visibility with Your New Network
If you want to be in a new space, there are many ways to get in it before changing jobs. Do your research into the places where you can begin to meet people and establish a network. You can find these spaces by identifying who you need to interact with and learn where they are going and what they are doing. Learn about and attend conferences. Join an association. Join LinkedIn groups, and look into other ways that the people in your target space congregate.
- Get Yourself A Mentor
You don’t need to go it alone. Making a career pivot can be hard and intimidating enough without support. You can find that support by locating a mentor. If you don’t know of someone already, use keywords relating to the job and industry on LinkedIn to locate a leader in your target space. While ideally, this person lives and works in your target geographical area, a long-distance relationship can work as well. Approach that person with a defined goal such as meeting for one hour per month for six months to talk about your career. Be explicit that you are looking for a mentor for your pivot, and clarify that you are not looking for a job. When meeting with a career mentor, be prepared and mindful of the person’s time. A successful mentorship can transform a mentor into a career champion, who can continue to help as you make your transition.
A career pivot can be an exciting step if you thoughtfully prepare for the transition. Instead of running forward without looking, consciously incorporating your career focus into your current trajectory allows you to gain insights and confidence that will smooth the way.
*Originally published on BrandMirror’s website.
Jen Dalton, CEO of BrandMirror, has over 15 years of experience in strategy, marketing, and coaching. In 2012, she made a gutsy move into the entrepreneurship space, launching her branding business and became a certified master personal branding strategist. She specializes in building your digital thought leadership on LinkedIn and other social media. You can find her bestselling book, The Intentional Entrepreneur, on Amazon, which highlights how business owners can leverage their personal brand to grow their business faster.